Published on January 8, 2014
Are you really drinking the same water as the caveman?
Water Cycle • Water is always on the move. Rain falling where you live may have been water in the ocean just days before. And the water you see in a river or stream may have been snow on a high mountaintop. • The water cycle is also known as the hydrologic cycle. – Fun Fact: • Hydro is Latin for water
Where is water? • Water can be in the atmosphere, on the land, in the ocean, and even underground. • It is recycled over and over through the water cycle. • In the cycle, water changes state between liquid, solid (ice), and gas (water vapor).
Stage 1 : Evaporation • Evaporation is the process where liquid changes to vapor form. • Evaporation turns the water that is on the surface of oceans, rivers, & lakes into water vapor using energy from the sun.
Stage 1 : Transpiration • Transpiration is the process when water evaporates from plants. • Plants lose water through their stems, leaves, and roots. • A fully grown tree may lose several hundred gallons of water through its leaves on a hot, dry day.
Stage 2: Condensation • Condensation is the process by which water vapor in the air is changed into liquid water. • The water vapor rises in the atmosphere and cools, forming tiny water droplets by a process called condensation. • Those water droplets make up clouds.
Stage 3: Precipitation • Those water droplets that CONDENSE make up clouds. If those tiny water droplets combine with each other they grow larger and eventually become too heavy to stay in the air. Then they fall to the ground as rain, snow, and other types of precipitation.
Stage 3: Precipitation • Precipitation is the process where water released from clouds in the form of rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow, or hail. It is the primary way water is delivered from the atmosphere to the Earth.
Did you know… • How many gallons of water fall when 1 inch (2.5 cm) of rain falls on 1 acre of land? – 27,154 gallons of water! • Rain drops are not tear shaped. – They start out in a ball shape, but as they fall they meet with air resistance, which starts to flatten out the drop until at about 2-3 mm in diameter the bottom is quite flat with an indention in the middle - much like a hamburger bun. When raindrops reach about 4-5 mm, things really fall apart. At this size, the indentation in the bottom greatly expands forming something like a parachute with two smaller droplets at the bottoms. The parachute doesn't last long, though, and the large drop breaks up into smaller drops.
Wow! That is amazing! • The world's record for average-annual rainfall belongs to Mt. Waialeale, Hawaii, where it averages about 450 inches (38 ft) per year. • The world’s record for least amount of rain goes to Antofagasta Region, Atacama Desert, Chile at 0 inches in one year! – It takes 6 gallons of water to grow the potatoes for your order of fries! – For your hamburger it takes 1300 gallons of water to produce everything needed!
Stage 4: Runoff • The variety of ways by which water moves across the land. • As it flows, the water may seep into the ground, evaporate into the air, become stored in lakes or reservoirs, or be extracted for agricultural or other human uses.
Stage 4: Infiltration • Some of the precipitation seeps into the ground and becomes a part of the groundwater. • Infiltration is the process by which runoff soaks into the ground.
Stage 5: Accumulation The process in which water pools in large bodies (like oceans, seas and lakes) Most of the water on Earth is in the Ocean. Did you know? Water stays in certain places longer than others. A drop of water may spend over 3,000 years in the ocean before moving on to another part of the water cycle while a drop of water spends an average of just eight days in the atmosphere before falling back to Earth.
The Water Cycle • Earth's water is always in movement on, above, and below the surface of the Earth. • Since the water cycle is truly a "cycle," there is no beginning or end. • Water can change states among liquid, vapor, and ice at various places in the water cycle, with these processes happening in the blink of an eye and over millions of years.
Surface Water Clear Creek near IH-45 and 518. • Surface water is any water that is on the surface of the Earth. • This includes rivers, streams, creeks, lakes, and reservoirs.
What is a watershed? The land area that drains into a particular water body. All land is in a watershed and everybody lives in a watershed. During a rainstorm, the water that flows over the land as runoff collects in channels such as streams, canals, rivers, etc. The land area that drains water is called a watershed.
Watersheds • So, a watershed is the area of land where all of the water that falls in it and drains off of it goes into the same place (in our case, Clear Creek). • The word watershed is sometimes used interchangeably with drainage basin or catchment. • The watershed consists of surface water -- lakes, streams, reservoirs, and wetlands--and all the underlying ground water. Clear Creek tributary near Blackhawk Road.
Harris County Watersheds Kemah You are here!
Clear Creek Watershed Drainage Area: 197 square miles Watershed Population (Harris County): 118,026 Open Stream Miles: 154 miles Primary Streams: Clear Creek Turkey Creek Mud Gully Kemah You are here!
All About the Clear Creek Watershed Clear Creek tidal area. Near IH-45 and FM 518. • The Clear Creek watershed is located in southern Harris County. • The watershed encompasses portions of Harris, Galveston, Brazoria and Fort Bend counties; 16 cities including Houston, Brookside Village, Pearland, Friendswood, League City, Pasadena, and the Clear Lake Area communities.
Environment of the Clear Creek Watershed • Clear Creek between Clear Lake and the City of Friendswood is in a natural state. • Its bottom elevations are below sea level and subject to tidal influences. • A number of natural and recreational parks have been developed along the creek. • Much of the channel upstream of this line also supports heavy vegetative growth. Clear Creek from Challenger Seven Memorial Park
Flooding in the Clear Creek Watershed • Flooding occurs frequently along various reaches of the main channel and its tributaries. • Storm surge has also caused flooding within the watershed and has the potential to extend upstream from Kemah to I-45.
From an aerial view, drainage patterns in a watershed resemble a network similar to the branching pattern of a tree. Tributaries, flow into streams. Streams eventually empty into a large rivers. Like other branching patterns (e.g. road maps, veins in a leaf, the human nervous system), the drainage pattern consists of smaller channels merging into larger ones.
So what does that really mean?
So why do we worry about water so much?
What is Groundwater?
Ground Water • Below a certain depth, the ground that is permeable enough to hold water is saturated with water. • The upper surface of this zone of saturation is called the water table. • The saturated zone beneath the water table is called an aquifer, and aquifers are huge storehouses of water.
Ground Water • Groundwater is the part of precipitation that seeps down through the soil until it reaches rock material that is saturated with water. • Water in the ground is stored in the spaces between rock particles (no, there are no underground rivers or lakes). • Groundwater slowly moves underground, generally at a downward angle (because of gravity), and may eventually seep into streams, lakes, and oceans. Unsaturated soil Saturated soil
Aquifers • Aquifers are underground reservoirs. • Almost no bacteria live in aquifers. Many pollutants are filtered out as the water passes through the soil on its way to the aquifer. • To tap the groundwater in an aquifer, wells are dug until they reach the top layer of the aquifer, the water table. • When a lot of water is pumped from an aquifer, or when there is a dry spell, the water table sinks lower.
Aquifers • • • Wells can be drilled into the aquifers and water can be pumped out. Precipitation eventually adds water (recharge) into the porous rock of the aquifer. The rate of recharge is not the same for all aquifers, though, and that must be considered when pumping water from a well. Pumping too much water too fast draws down the water in the aquifer and eventually causes a well to yield less and less water and even run dry.
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